Are you interested in buying a new audio interface for your home music studio? The role of an audio interface is to convert the analog audio singles that are produced by your vocals and acoustic instruments into a digital format so your computer can process the sounds. We have put together a list of the top three audio interfaces for your home music studio in 2021.
Our objective for this page is to recommend audio interfaces that have excellent features and quality while being reasonably priced. These are audio interfaces that we have used in the past, and that we can strongly recommend. These audio interfaces are renowned in the industry for being extremely high quality while remaining affordable.
These are the top audio interfaces for 2021:
Have you ever tried plugging your microphone’s XLR into your computer? Well, it doesn’t work. You’re going to need an audio interface to convert the analog signals to digital signals.
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (click to check the current price on Amazon)– A very compact audio interface that is extremely well built and our top 2021 audio interface for home music recording. Great for home producers who only need to record a maximum of two inputs at one time. Recordings up to 24-bit resolution with 192 kHz sampling rates! An excellent audio interface for home studios.
- PreSonus AudioBox (click to check the current price on Amazon) – Similar to the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 but only has a 24-bit resolution with 44.1, 48, 88.2 and 96 kHz sampling rate. Still, a very good audio interface that is well built. It is slightly cheaper.
- Focusrite Scarlett Solo (click to check the current price on Amazon)– A great audio interface for your first recording. This isn’t my recommended ‘go to’ audio interface but it would sure do the job if you’re planning to only record one microphone or one instrument. You’re limited as it only has 1 available input. Unlike the PreSonus AudioBox, this one can record up to 24-bit resolutions with 192 kHz sampling rates.
Why We Picked The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
- Two natural-sounding Scarlett mic preamps with plenty of even gain; two instrument...
- Class-leading conversion and sample rates up to 192kHz / 24 bit; super-low roundtrip...
- LIMITED TIME OFFER: FREE Venomode DeeQ, Maximal 2, and Pivot, plug-ins upon...
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is a great afford audio interface. It’s perfect for new and all-rounded musicians. It’s the audio interface i use for my personal home recording studio, and I can’t fault it.
It has a 24-bit resolution with sample rates of up to 192 KHz. This means it produces a very high-quality sound conversation and has the ability to capture every note and every subtle detail with great clarity.
It is also portable which is great for musicians on the move and it features a metal aluminum case/frame which protects the unit. (It does require main power though!) One thing I noticed about the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is that it’s much smaller and lighter in weight than I expected. It’s not flimsily or incredible light though, it still feels very durable and high quality when you’re handling the interface.
The audio interface also has 2 XLR inputs which make it great for a standard home recording studio or producers who only need it record a limited amount of devices at one time.
Features to look for in a quality audio interface:
- The number of Inputs and Outputs – How many inputs/outputs do I need? It depends. The answer will be different for each recording studio. Count how many XLR inputs you need before buying an audio interface. Don’t buy a 3 input audio interface when you have 5 devices that need to be plugged in at once.
- DAW Compatibility – Most audio interfaces will be compatible with your digital audio workstation, but before you buy an audio interface it doesn’t do any harm to make sure it is compatible with your daw first.
- The Connector – Most audio interfaces will use a USB connector to connect to your computer, but some come with firewire or thunderbolt so make sure you look out for what connector they use to connect to your computer! That’s fairly important.
- Portable Audio Interfaces a Much More Convenient – Get a portable audio interface! Especially, if you’re going to be traveling. They are a lot more convenient and easier to use. Plus they are portable. Getting an audio interface built into your computer will be a hassle. It’s harder to plug in devices and if it stops working it may need replacing. If you’re not computer savvy, it may be difficult for you.
- Look For 24 Bit Resolution – The pro standard for bit resolution today is 24 bit. When buying an audio interface look for 24-bit resolution, this will make sure you get great sounding audio. When using a 24-bit audio interface you will find the sound is much smoother and professional sounding.
Here is a great clip of what you can expect to with the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2:
Information about audio interfaces
Audio interfaces can hugely vary in price depending on the functionality that you need. Pro studios may need many inputs/outputs whereas a home music studio may only need a couple. The brand, form factor, number of channels, and interface connection can also play a major role in the price of an audio interface.
Most audio interfaces will work with most DAWS, but it’s always important to check that the audio interface you’re thinking of buying is compatible with the digital audio workstation that you’re using.
Most audio interfaces will use a USB connector to connect to your computer, but some come with firewire or thunderbolt so make sure you look out for what connector they use to connect to your computer! That’s fairly important.
Inputs on an audio interface can also range. The cheaper audio interfaces generally have 1-2 inputs and outputs whereas the more expensive ones can have up to 20+. The inputs channels can also range from a microphone input, line input and firewire input. Make sure you buy an audio interface that has enough inputs and outputs and the correct channels for your needs
Some audio interfaces come with DAWS. For example, the Avid audio interface comes with a free copy of Pro Tools 12 and the Presonus AudioBox comes with a free copy of PreSonus Studio One Artist.